All businesses at some point in their development need to expand their product and service lines. If done successfully new product lines can generate attractive new revenue streams and profits, as well as spreading the firm’s risk across multiple products and services.
The big question is how can product and service lines be launched at minimal risk? Being the first to market with a unique product that meets customer needs is the goal, but getting it wrong can be very expensive. At Campbell Ventures we have been working with a many of clients to explore and identify new product and service lines for companies in the manufacturing, professional services and technology sectors. To start the process we advise our clients to initially pursue three foolproof strategies:
Analyse Customer Feedback
To reduce the risk of investing in a new product or service line listen to your customers and let them guide you. Make sure that your sales reps keep a detailed record of:
- All the products that customers request.
- The date when they are requested.
- How the customer intends to use the product requested.
By collecting this information opportunities for new products that are in demand by your existing cutomer base can be identified. By understanding how many requests for a new product have been made and how it will be used significantly increases the success of a new product launch. This approach is also free!
Learn What Your Competitors are Doing
Find out what your competitors are doing in your market and identify areas where you could do better. Speak to suppliers and customers about the competition and learn how they perceive their offering in the market. Use you suppliers and customers as a source of information to develop a SWOT analysis. Also, if you are an international business do you see significant differences in products demanded in different parts of the world? In some sectors like luxury goods European designs often take the lead before North America and Asia. Being aware of these trends can reduce the risk on your new product expansion strategy into a specific region.
The third approach is to innovate from scratch. This can often be the most expensive approach but can often have the greatest positive impact on the business both financially and from a staff satisfaction and branding/ PR perspective. Structured formal innovation processes exist that companies can follow but some of the best innovations often occur when ideas are generated from other industry sectors and completely unrelated fields. It often pays to look outside of your immediate market and industry sector, the chances are that innovative product and service ideas exist in other sectors.
Campbell Ventures offers consultancy advice and workshops for businesses who are looking to identify new product, service and market opportunities. We offer competitively priced one day “Opportunity Discovery” workshops to take your management team through a structured process that will identify and rank new product and market opportunities for your business. Please contact us for a confidential discussion on how we can help your business reduce the risk of expanding your company’s products and service lines.
Campbell Ventures is an international interim management and consulting firm that accelerates the growth of businesses. We provide hands on strategy development and operational improvement expertise to companies in the manufacturing, professional services and technology sectors. For more information please contact Mike Campbell, Managing Director on +44 7771 615641 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Further information can be obtained from campbell.pwebs.co.uk and www.china-business-experts.com.